While there are nominally six engines available at the launch, the UK will initially take just two: a 237bhp/369lb ft, two-litre, twin-turbo diesel TDI; and a 276bhp/258lb ft, two-litre turbocharged petrol TSI unit. Both will be equipped with seven-speed DSG twin-clutch transmissions and four-wheel drive. The diesel is capable of 152mph, 0-62mph in 6.5 seconds, has an EU Combined economy of 47.9mpg and CO2 emissions of 152g/km; equivalent figures for the petrol are 155mph, 5.6 seconds, 38.7mpg and 164g/km.
We drove the diesel Elegance model, which if past sales are any guide will be the best seller. That biturbo engine pulls like an oat-fuelled Shire horse with a pleasing growl at low revs, it's smooth, but gets quite raucous at high revs. Not that you'll need to rev it since it does most of its best work below 4,000rpm and the DSG transmission keeps it in the zone, with steering column paddles to manually change ratios. On a route filled with stop/start motoring, we returned a consumption of 45.6mpg.
The Golf's Dynamic Chassis Control system given a new twist with the Arteon, with the choice of individual settings for the variables on steering, comfort and throttle response, two clicks beyond the normal extremes - think of Nigel Tufnel's "The numbers all go to eleven," scene from This Is Spinal Tap. It's fairly academic, but the Comfort mode certainly feels pillowy on long undulations. In fact, the ride is one of the nicest dynamics about the car, or it would be, were it not for those 20-inch Pirellis, which pick up on every surface change, expansion joint and pot hole like having your teeth dinged with a steel soup ladle.